Buju Banton Readies New Album 'Upside Down 2020,' First LP in 10 Years - Rolling Stone
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Buju Banton Readies New Album ‘Upside Down 2020,’ First LP in 10 Years

Dancehall star enlists John Legend, Pharrell and Stephen Marley for first album since December 2018 prison release

A month after Buju Banton announced the impending arrival of his new album Upside Down 2020, the reggae superstar revealed Friday that his first LP in 10 years will be released June 26th.

Banton also shared his new single “Blessed” from Upside Down 2020, which marks Banton’s first full-length album since his prison release in December 2018 following a seven-year stint on U.S. federal drug charges. John Legend, Pharrell, Stephen Marley and Stefflon Don are among the album’s guests.

The dancehall star last released Before the Dawn in 2010. A decade later, Banton gets ready to unleash Upside Down 2020 amid a backdrop of a worldwide pandemic and continued protests against police brutality.

“As we approach this shift in time, in ages, in the consciousness of man, many things can be said but who is really listening? So much trouble in our world, yet are we aware? The battle lines have been drawn and it’s simple. Good versus evil,” Banton said in a lengthy statement. “I am not here to tell you the side you should be on, rather my offering of music is meant to guide, inspire, uplift, educate and eradicate negativity from the minds of the masses. We, who have been the political football of many, the economic underdog nations, say no! No more to this upside-down system. This one-sided view of justice and all the other issues affecting us as a people.”

Banton continued: “While I seek to highlight the systemic problems around the world, I am aware of the need of preserving dancehall culture along with the real essence that reggae music offers but these are not normal times so things cannot continue as normal. We are the change we seek and it’s our time to cement this thought in the minds of our youth. To open their eyes, thus enabling future generations to continue on a firm path and solid foundation with music doing its job as the great healer, teacher, comforter and above all, the restorative force that propels human beings to higher heights.”

Upside Down 2020 will feature 20 tracks — including “Blessed” and the 2019 release “Steppa” — doubling the tracklist of 2010’s Before the Dawn.

“This album comprises 20 tracks. Why? Because it’s 2020,” Banton said in an interview. “2020 has a deeper understanding in my mind. It resonates with a clear vision and seeing things for what it is. And another reason, after a 10-year absence, we try to give the people some music for that missing time.”

Upside Down 2020 Tracklist

  1. “Lamb of God”
  2. “Yes Mi Friend” featuring Stephen Marley 
  3. “Buried Alive” 
  4. “Blessed”
  5. “Memories” featuring John Legend 
  6. “Lovely State of Mind” 
  7. “Appreciated”
  8. “Trust”
  9. “Cherry Pie” featuring Pharrell 
  10. “Beat Dem Bad”
  11. “Good Time Girl”
  12. “Call Me” featuring Stefflon Don 
  13. “Moonlight Love”
  14. “Cheated”
  15. “Steppa”
  16. “The World Is Changing” 
  17. “400 Years”
  18. “Rising Up”
  19. “Helping Hand”
  20. “Unity”

In This Article: dancehall, reggae

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